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Ancient Observatory (Guguanxiangtai)

No.2 Dongbiaobei Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100005, China
010-65242202
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Ranked #119 of 1,243 Attractions in Beijing
Type: Observatories/ Planetariums, Historic Sites, Observation Decks/ Towers
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Eight huge astronomical instruments are displayed on an elevated platform at this observatory, which was used during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and... more » Owner description: Eight huge astronomical instruments are displayed on an elevated platform at this observatory, which was used during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is one of the oldest observatories in the world. « less
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26 reviews from our community

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Canberra
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2014 NEW

Definitely off the beaten path, it was fascinating to see ancient astronomical equipment at the top of this old building near the centre of Beijing. A must-visit for anyone interested in science history or astronomy, or to see something genuinely different. You'll probably spend 45 - 60 minutes here.

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Rio Linda, California
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

The Ancient Observatory is a museum showcasing China's development in astronomy. Most of the advances were made as a result of western influence, particularly Jesuit missionary sharing of western technology. However, the Chinese put their own spin on them. This site is very easy to get to since it is only about three blocks from the Beijing Railway station and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
148 reviews 148 reviews
35 attraction reviews
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2014

This place is located right next to the Subway Line-2 Jianguomen Station, though you can see the ancient navigation instruments on top of a section of the old Beijing City Wall from far away. It is a small museum and an interesting one. Besides the ancient instruments on display, it also has three exhibition rooms, showing the history and technologies... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Beijing, China
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

The Ancient Observatory is an absolute gem in the heart of Beijing. If you are looking for an attraction that is different, historical and interesting then I'm sure this will be for you. I don't know why this is has criticized so heavily.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Daly City, California, United States
Top Contributor
159 reviews 159 reviews
118 attraction reviews
417 helpful votes 417 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

Tickets cost 20 RMB. There is a small museum in there that's not maintained really well. There isn't any english explanations on what is what. The main points of interest are the small garden located at the south end and the walk up to the tower which has the old instruments to measure the year at the top. Other than... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Tullamore, Ireland
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
29 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Although normally accompanied by my wife everywhere I went in Beijing, I went here alone. A Chinese lady was going to accompany me, but at the last minute she wasn't able to spare the afternoon, which was a shame as she could have done some translating for me! It was a pleasant sunny (but still cold) February afternoon. It cost... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

I wrote a book on a photographer named John Thomson who visited Beijing in 1870. He photographed the ancient observatory, and during our visit we were amazed to see it looks about the same. This is a sleeper for anyone fascinated by astronomy or even just unique aesthetics. The day we went with our Chinese friend, we had the place... More

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Shanghai, China
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
32 attraction reviews
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2012 via mobile

This is a very cool place to see but a lot of people may not like it. It has several ancient sky observation tools to see. It is right next to the Jingguamen subway stop an is easy to get to.

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Tel Aviv, Israel
Top Contributor
1,200 reviews 1,200 reviews
1,007 attraction reviews
586 helpful votes 586 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2012

This is a pretty average observatory, with only a few exhibits. Make sure to do your homework properly, as the exact nature of the instruments cannot be fully understood from the very basic plaques on the site.

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
58 attraction reviews
178 helpful votes 178 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

It is very important to read something about it before visiting. If not, I suggest visit the exhibition halls (in the right side after you enter), and then head to the observatory. This way you will understand the value and the significance of the 8 astronomical instruments they have there.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3

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